Judicial probe sought in journalist’s abduction

Updated 30 Oct 2020

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Senior Geo News reporter Ali Imran. — DawnNewsTV
Senior Geo News reporter Ali Imran. — DawnNewsTV

ISLAMABAD: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Pakistan Bar Council and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists have rejected the investigation team announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan to probe the abduction of Karachi-based Geo News journalist Ali Imran Syed.

The organisations claim that the team in question consists of personnel with links to state agencies who are allegedly “culpable” in similar past activities.

Last Friday, Mr Syed left his house in Gulistan-i-Jauhar between 7pm and 8pm to purchase some items from a nearby bakery but did not return. He returned safely the next day.

In a joint statement, HRCP secretary general Harris Khalique, PBC vice chairman Abid Saqi and PFUJ president and secretary general Shahzada Zulfiqar and Nasir Zaidi, respectively, said the situation warranted an independent and transparent investigation into the apparent enforced disappearance of Mr Syed.

They called for the formation of a judicial commission under a judge of the Supreme Court. “Last month, the FIA — which has been tasked with investigating the abduction of Mr Syed — registered fabricated cases against 49 journalists, some of whom have been summoned to probe baseless cases against the journalist community. How can such an authority ensure a fair and transparent enquiry?” the statement asked.

They demanded immediate constitution of a judicial commission, urging the premier to refer the case to the Supreme Court, given the rise in threats to journalists.

The three bodies said they would continue to support the cause of human rights, press freedom and freedom of expression which, according to them, constricted under the current government.

Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2020